Expanding New York’s Wrongful Death Law

Expanding New York’s Wrongful Death Law

Man holding flowers over a grave.

Author: Noah A. Mittman, Esq.

The New York Senate and Assembly recently passed the Grieving Families Act. This act will rightfully expand victims’ families’ right to recovery. For the most part, New York’s current wrongful death law is limited to the family’s pecuniary loss, that is the pre-death medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of financial support. The law fails to recognize the loss of love, companionship, and mental anguish faced by the victim’s family.

The Grieving Families Act will make much-needed changes to New York’s, 150+-year-old wrongful death law. The act will extend the statute of limitations from two years to three years and six months, giving grieving families an extra year and a half to file suit. This will allow the family to cope with their loss at their own pace, without rushing to file a lawsuit. Most importantly, the bill would expand the recovery of damages to include emotional loss/damage. One will now be able to recover from their mental anguish, grief, loss of love, support, and companionship.

With the changing times, families are beginning to take all different forms and sizes. The original wrongful death law only recognized the traditional close family members. The new Act will expand recovery beyond the traditional immediate family to now allow grandparents, siblings, non-married couples, and stepparents to recover.

Although long overdue, this act will take steps to address the unreasonable wrongful death laws in the State of New York. We look forward to helping grieving families get the compensation they rightfully deserve.

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